The biology of Portia fimbriata, a web-building jumping spider (Araneae, Salticidae) from Queensland: intraspecific interactions


  • Robert R. Jackson

    1. Department of Neurobiology, Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, Box 475 P. O., Canberra, A. C. T., Australia
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  • 2

    Department of Zoology, University of Canterbury, Christchurch 1, New Zealand.


Portia fimbriata (Doleschall) is an unusual salticid because it spins webs and uses its own webs and those of other species in predation. However, the courtship and threat displays of this species are more like those of typical, cursorial salticids than like typical web-building spiders. During male-female interactions, males perform leg-waving and leg-shaking displays, with legs I and II extended stiffly forward, while distant from the females. Before mounting they tap the females with their legs; and after mounting they tap, scrape and stroke the females' abdomens. Copulation takes place on or near the female's web or on the webs of other species. Hunched-legs displays, with legs I–III highly flexed and held to the side of the body, occur in male-male interactions. Also, during male-female and female-female interactions, females perform hunched-legs displays, strike, charge, ram, embrace, grapple with and leap at conspecifics. Sometimes they lose legs while grappling. After female-female interactions associated with maternal webs, if the resident decamps, the intruder eats the eggs left behind on a suspended leaf, spins a new egg-case over the destroyed one, and oviposits. Adult and sub-adult males co-habit in webs with sub-adult females for as long as 48 days and mate when the spiders mature.